Before I Met You by Lisa Jewell.
I have adored every book I have read by Lisa Jewell and Before I Met You did not disappoint. As I have come to expect from Lisa Jewell, the characters are all sensitively portrayed and the plot moves along at a pleasant pace.
Betty arrives in London from Guernsey, ready for a Soho experience. She is finally able to follow her secret fantasy of living a trendy life in the heart of London’s action. Her tiny bedsit (more akin to a partitioned off corridor) is expensive and noisy. Welcome to London!
Betty’s focus in London is to find Clara Pickles, the mysterious heir mentioned in her grandmother’s will and so the story skips back and forth between Betty and her grandmother Arlette. Not surprisingly, when Arlette was in her 20s she also made a break from Guernsey and she found excitement in the heady Jazz scene while it was still mostly underground. Due to Lisa Jewell’s deft writing ability I always wanted to read on in order to find out what was happening on the other side of the story. If you were a fan of Sophie Kinsella’s Twenties Girl then you will love this story too.
As much as I enjoy chick lit there are some things I generally avoid: cupcakes, knitting, clubs of some description, Christmas romances and … fictitious pop stars. When I discovered that in Before I Met You Betty inadvertently befriends a local pop star my instinct was to brace myself for clichés. Luckily, Lisa Jewell cleverly created a realistic character for her pop star heartthrob and his celebrity did not overwhelm the story.
The inclusion of Betty’s oddball neighbour surprised me at first as I wondered if she was superfluous to the story but after a while she grew on me and by the end even wondered why she didn’t feature more!
The unravelling mystery in Before I Met You doesn’t have quite the same pull as The Truth About Melody Browne. I may have also liked the characters more in The Making of Us but perhaps this is because the story has more of a suburban feel (Zone 2-3, at least!).
However, despite these minor comments and comparisons, Before I Met You is an incredibly enjoyable read and Lisa Jewell has successfully conjured up the atmosphere of Soho and Central London both in the 20s and the present day.
Before I Met You: 5 Stars
Thank you to Random House (Cornerstone) for providing a copy of the title for review.
Three other ‘historical chick lit’ books on my to read list:
The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton
Shadows on the Nile by Kate Furnivall. Published 20th June 2013.
The Lavender Garden by Lucinda Riley. Published 11th June 2013.
- Before I Met You by Lisa Jewell Book Recommendation (momkelly2003.wordpress.com)
- Before I Met You by Lisa Jewell (readinginthesunshine.wordpress.com)
- Before I Met You by Lisa Jewell (ireadnovels.wordpress.com)
- EXCITING NEWS!! ~ New LISA JEWELL on it’s way!!! (mebookshelfandi.wordpress.com)